Where to Travel on Vacation in February 2023
Where to go on vacation in February
February brings with it a sense of fun as countries across the Caribbean and Southeast Asia enjoy perfect tropical weather that lends itself beautifully to carnivals and street parties, island getaways, and archaeological discovery. It's summer in the Southern Hemisphere which makes Latin America a great place to explore with endless hiking opportunities in Patagonia while winter drapes its coat of snow and frost over the Northern Hemisphere, perfect for frozen wilderness and hunting for the Northern Lights in Iceland and Finland.
If you're struggling to decide where to go in February 2023, take a look at our pick of destinations and experiences that this month has to offer. You'll also find a guide to the top beach breaks in February as well as where's best for wildlife and a range of recommended tours to take advantage of these destinations.
Top Destinations and Experiences in February
Discover the magical highlights of Morocco
February means winter in Morocco but the desert country is still blessed with pleasant weather, and the temperatures are perfect for exploring imperial cities and browsing the extensive souks of Marrakech. You will want to remember to pack a jacket though, because although the days are still warm, the nights can get incredibly cold, especially in the north and the more mountainous parts of the country, such as Chefchaouen.
Recommended tour: Totally Morocco →
Exploring the Temples of Angkor in Cambodia
February is a brilliant month to head to Vietnam and Cambodia to explore the remarkable temples of Angkor - it's the dry season, which means sunny days, mostly clear skies and comfortable temperatures. This good weather coincides with the peak travel season; so make sure to plan accordingly in order to see the temples without the worst of the crowds.
Recommended tour: Journey to Angkor Wat →
Winter fun and magical night skies
February is considered one of the best months to spot the Northern Lights in Iceland, as the country is still in the grip of winter - so sunset arrives early. The snowy scenery is at its most beautiful but the harshest winter weather has normally passed. You'll still have to wrap up warm, but for a truly wintry adventure, February provides a great chance to spot the magical Aurora Borealis before the longer days of summer arrive.
Recommended tour: Land of the Northern Lights →
Buddhist holiday in Sri Lanka
Each month the Buddhist population of Sri Lanka celebrates Poya, the day of the full moon. In February it's known as Navam Poya and is marked with a major perahera (religious procession) at the Gangaramaya Temple in Colombo, featuring dancers and musicians. This can easily be combined with a sightseeing tour of the island, as well as time spent on the beaches of the southwest coast.
Recommended tour: Buddha and Beach →
Best City Breaks in February
Although you'll need to be prepared for chilly weather, February is one of the best months for visiting Reykjavik. Using the city as a base, explore the surrounding winter landscapes, frozen waterfalls and natural ice caves, before warming up in a natural hot spring or the famous Blue Lagoon. February is one of the best months for seeing the Northern Lights and also sees the city illuminated for the annual Winter Lights Festival.
February falls in the dry season for Colombia, so this is the perfect time to explore the beautiful city of Cartagena. Set on the Caribbean coast, Cartagena boasts a UNESCO-listed old town surrounded by an impressive 13 kilometres of city walls. Once inside, you’ll discover a maze of cobbled streets, colourful colonial architecture and pretty plazas, alongside excellent restaurants and buzzing salsa bars.
It's winter in Morocco during February, but don't let that put you off. The country still benefits from warm temperatures and on top of that there will be fewer crowds. This makes February the perfect time to delve into the bustling souks and ancient cultures of Marrakech. From central Djemaa el Fna square, you can explore famous landmarks such as Koutoubia Mosque, or head further afield to the fishing city of Essaouira or the famous kasbah of Ait Benhaddou.
With virtually no rainfall, February is a great time to visit Mexico’s vibrant capital. The city boasts numerous archaeological treasures and charming colonial neighbourhoods. Yet simultaneously, it is a fast-growing cosmopolitan hub with world-class museums, incredible street art and a host of trendy restaurants where you can try the delicious cuisine that Mexico is so famous for.
Best Festivals in February
Every month of the year holds its own unique offering of special events and festivals. In February this means epic street parties and desert spectacles. Here's our choice of the best festivals that take place around the world.
Chinese New Year
Dating back centuries, Chinese New Year is one of China's most important festivals, with celebrations lasting almost two weeks. Traditions associated with Chinese New Year include the lighting of firecrackers, gifting of money in red envelopes and decorating the streets with oval red lanterns. Many cities will also host colourful parades with dragon dances to scare away evil spirits.
Jaisalmer Desert Festival
Where? Jaisalmer, India
Set against the massive golden citadel of Jaisalmer in the mighty Thar Desert, this vibrant festival celebrates Rajasthan's rich cultural heritage with extravagant song and dance performances, quirky moustache contests, turban tying competitions and ceremonial processions. Camels also feature highly with camel races, polo and even camel dancing.
Abu Simbel Sun Festival
Where? Abu Simbel, Egypt
While the ancient wonders, beautiful Red Sea beaches and warm dry climate are reason enough to visit Egypt in February, the list doesn’t stop there. On 22nd February, the date of King Ramses II's ascension to the throne, you can witness the bi-annual occurrence of the Abu Simbel Sun Festival, when the sun’s rays align to illuminate the inner sanctum of the temple.
Where? Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
With the festivities of New Year’s Eve already a month behind us, you may be itching for another excuse to party. Well, lucky for you Brazil comes alive in February for the world’s most famous street party. While Carnival is celebrated throughout the country, the real heart of the action is found amongst the crowds on the streets of Rio de Janeiro, with lively samba parades & dazzling costumes.
Top Romantic Destinations for Valentine's Day
If you want to up the romance stakes this Valentine's Day then why not think outside the box, or even outside the country for that matter. What could be more romantic than whisking your partner off to an exotic, far-flung destination for an unforgettable holiday for two this February?
Nothing quite says romance like strolling arm-in-arm across a pristine white sandy shore framed by palm-trees with waves lapping at your feet. Or what about stepping out of your overwater villa straight into the warm waters of the Indian Ocean? The scene you're picturing would be the Maldives, an idyllic Valentine's destination for February. If you've got some extra time on your hands consider combining the Maldives with the cultural delights of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka + Maldives
The sense of the exotic makes Morocco a surprisingly romantic travel destination. Traditional riads offer an intimate and often stylish place to stay with only a handful of rooms characterised by ornamental details and rich-coloured furnishings with tranquil inner courtyards for all to enjoy. In Morocco you can also ride a camel out into the Sahara for a night spent at a desert camp under the stars - what could be more romantic?
This popular destination in Southeast Asia has plenty of credentials as far as romance is concerned. Firstly, it's home to the unbelievably gorgeous Halong Bay, where you can spend the night on a luxurious junk boat cruising around the karst islands. Then there's the charming riverside town of Hoi An, home to attractive merchant houses, quaint tea stores and peaceful pagodas. It's particularly romantic at night, when lit by colourful lanterns.
Hanoi to Hoi An
Gaze upon Petra's Treasury facade by candlelight while Bedouin music transports you to another time. In Wadi Rum soak up the red desertscape under a sky full of stars and spend the night in a camp, away from distractions. While at the Dead Sea, you can relax in the therapeutic waters and treat you and your loved one to a massage or spa treatment in the surrounding resorts. This is romance perfect for the adventurous couple.
Passage to Petra
Best Beach Destinations in February
It's great exploring every corner of a destination, but sometimes you just need a sun lounger on the beach with a cocktail in hand to top off your holiday. While the Northern Hemisphere is still submerged in the chill of the winter, south of the equator summer is in full swing. The weather across Southeast Asia, Central America and the Indian Subcontinent is perfect for sunbathing, with plenty of beaches to choose from.
For such a compact country, Sri Lanka experiences a dramatic variety of weather conditions, with half of the island dry and the other wet at any given time. In February the southwest coast is experiencing dry conditions with sunny days and warm temperatures. This makes it the perfect time to enjoy the miles of coastline and palm-fringed beaches, as well as national parks in the south.
In India the southern region of Goa is pleasantly warm, with low humidity offering the perfect conditions to kick back and relax on palm-fringed shores. It's just after the peak season so you needn't worry about fighting over beach umbrellas. There's another reason to visit as the streets come alive with the revelry of the Goa Carnival, complete with music and colourful floats.
East Africa experiences two dry seasons throughout the year and February marks the end of the second season, which starts in December. This means it's the last month for a while that offers perfect beach weather with dry, sunny days and cloudless skies. With wildlife spotting still good in Tanzania, it's a great beach choice at the end of a safari adventure.
Best Wildlife Destinations in February
If you're looking for a safari adventure in February then East Africa will be your best bet - the dry season means sparser vegetation, making it easier for spotting the Big 5. Whilst in Uganda, the mountain trails are in better condition for trekking to see the gorillas. Elsewhere, it's a good time to take a jeep safari through Yala National Park in Sri Lanka in search of the elusive leopard and Costa Rica has plenty of wildlife to keep you happy - from nesting turtles on the coast, to the dense interior forests - home to plentiful birdlife.
The wet and warm season in the Amazon is the best time to take a luxury cruise, with higher water levels making more and more waterways accessible by boat. Between January and April, plants drop their fruit, which attracts animal and bird species to the seasonal buffet that litters the ground. Numerous plants are flowering at this time too, which makes it great for photography.
Off the shores of the Valdes Peninsula in Argentina on the Atlantic, orcas begin to arrive for the small nurseries of baby sea lions that populate the region between February and April. Commonly known as Killer Whales, it's not hard to see how they earned this name when they use their incredible hunting skills in what was designated a UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 1999.
February to March is the optimal time to visit India's national parks in search of the majestic Bengal tiger. With temperatures steadily heating up, the greenery is starting to thin out across the country so catching a glimpse of that flash of stripes in the undergrowth becomes all the more likely. In neighbouring Nepal, Chitwan National Park is a great location too, home to the rare One-horned rhino.
The Galapagos are a year-round destination, with endemic species populating the islands throughout the year. Each month brings something to see, and in February it's the sight of flamingos nesting on Floreana Island. It's also the start of the Black-tailed pintails breeding season and the peak of the Galapagos dove nesting season so a great time for bird-watchers to visit.
Recommended Tours and Holidays for February
Still can't decide where to travel in February? Here's a selection of our tours perfectly suited for February travel, from the pulsating cities of South America to the stunning coast of South Africa.